The average Facebook user probably did not secretly expect that the world’s largest social media company (and the frequent privacy flouter) would launch a new video chat device that could be installed at home. However, Facebook has taken a step forward to do it anyway, actually, announcing three new products under its Portal brand of video chat devices that include a new Portal, Portal Mini and Portal TV.
Let’s start with Portal TV, which looks a bit like a thinner version of a TV soundbar and can be seen in the image below. It is an accessory that is located on or under your TV and offers immersive video calls to what is usually the largest screen in the home.
Meanwhile, the new Portal Mini and redesigned Portal video chat products feature photo frame designs, with the Mini Portal that includes an 8-inch HD screen and the Portal with a 10-inch HD screen. They can be used for video calls, display photos and watch videos in portrait or landscape mode. Other features: The built-in speaker that comes with both devices supports music playback when you’re not in video calls, and also includes an adaptable screen that adjusts brightness and color to your surroundings, making photos and videos look more natural.
In terms of availability, the new Portal line will reach the US. UU. And Canada, as well as the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. Advance orders have begun for US residents. UU. From portal.facebook.com and selected retail locations, and the Portal ($ 179) and the Mini Portal ($ 129) begin shipping on October 15. Portal TV ($ 149), meanwhile, ships on November 5. A $ 50 discount also applies when two Portal devices are grouped together.
Portal now supports video calls to friends through WhatsApp, in addition to Messenger. You can also use devices such as a TV to enjoy Facebook Watch content such as Red Table Talk and other programs. The devices use Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant to offer hands-free control and, speaking of Amazon, Portal is compatible with Amazon’s Prime Video application. In terms of privacy, the company also offered this in an official blog post today about the new ads:
“The portal has clear and simple settings for privacy and security. You can turn off the camera and microphone with a single touch or a slide switch. A red light next to the lens indicates that the camera and microphone are turned off and there is an integrated camera cover if you want to physically lock the camera lens. For added security, Smart Camera and Smart Sound use artificial intelligence technology that runs locally on the Portal, not on Facebook servers. “